Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Disney Parks Rice Krispies Treats

At any Disney theme park or resort, you will find an amazing assortment of Disney Parks Rice Krispies Treats.  As a celiac, I have to avoid wheat, rye, and barley, ingredients I commonly look for on food labels.  


At the end of the list of ingredients for this iced Rice Krispies Treat, you find warning statements that this product contains milk, soy and coconut, and is manufactured on shared equipment with peanuts and/or tree nuts.  Even when I don't see wheat in the warning statements, I still scan ingredients.  The words wheat, rye or barley don't appear in the ingredients list of either of the Disney Parks Rice Krispies Treats pictured, but they are still not safe for celiacs.  The Mickey shaped treat pictured does have a warning that it is manufactured in a facility which handles peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and egg, so hopefully celiacs would stay away from that one because of the risk of cross contamination.  


Disney Parks Rice Krispies Treats are made with Kellogg's Rice Krispies Cereal, which is not gluten free, because it contains malt flavoring.  The malt flavoring in Rice Krispies is barley malt, which is not stated on the label, making this product a confusing one for celiacs.  I am writing this post because I have seen celiacs posting pictures on social media of the Disney Parks Rice Krispies Treats that they have eaten at Disney World.  


Hopefully some day, Kellogg's will reformulate Rice Krispies to remove the malt.  They recently discontinued Rice Krispies Gluten Free Cereal, which was made with brown rice, and without the barley malt.  


If you are in the mood for a crispy rice treat, minus the gluten, head to any of the Starbucks locations at Disney World for a Marshmallow Dream Bar.  There are currently two Starbucks in Downtown Disney, and one in each theme park except the Animal Kingdom, but a Starbucks is expected to open there later this year.  You can read more about Marshmallow Dream Bars here.  


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

La Hacienda de San Angel - Epcot

Last Saturday, we had dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot.  Nina, our international student, chose the restaurant for her final meal at Disney before she flew back to China.  My whole family was happy with her choice, because we love La Hacienda de San Angel, which is featured in my Favorite Table Service Restaurants at Disney blog post.  


La Hacienda de San Angel offers Mexican cuisine and lagoon views, in an incredibly beautiful setting.  I wish I could take some of their light fixtures home with me.




Like San Angel Inn, which is located inside the Mexico Pavilion, La Hacienda is now marking gluten free and diary free dishes with a GF and DF on their menu.  Chef Luis told me that he could make almost any dish on the menu gluten free, as long as it is not fried.  


I was a little shocked when I was told that the tortilla chips were not safe for people with celiac.  On every previous visit to La Hacienda de San Angel, I was able to eat the chips, but Chef Luis told me that they are now making more fried dishes, and no longer have a dedicated fryer.  Not filling up on chips and salsa before my meal allowed me to enjoy it more, so I was not too sad, but I know a lot of my blog readers were very disappointed when I shared this news on Facebook over the weekend.  Hopefully, La Hacienda de San Angel will remedy this situation in the near future so guests with celiac and gluten intolerance can enjoy their tortilla chips.  


Our entrees were served with large bowls of rice and black beans, which my daughters adore.  I think they would be quite content to make a meal out of the tortilla chips & salsa, and rice and black beans.  


We ordered two of our favorite entree, the Pollo al Pastor, which is achiote marinated chicken served with roasted vegetables, beans and pineapple relish.  This dish is so flavorful, and we all enjoyed it wrapped up in homemade corn tortillas.  In the past, the chicken was boneless, but now it is being served with a half chicken.  The boneless chicken was easier to eat, but the crispy skin on the half chicken was delicious.  


The Pollo al Pastor is served with long strips of red pepper, zucchini and squash, and is safe for gluten free and dairy free diners.  


The Carnitas Yucatecas is also gluten free and dairy free.  This dish is described as pork confit (carnitas Yucatan style), with pico de gallo, cabbage, citrus juice and avocado salsa.  Nina, my husband, and I were all thinking this dish was a little tasteless until my daughter Katie told us that it had been delivered with a side of salsa that we couldn't see at our end of the table.  The beautifully green avocado salsa, which is not pictured, added much needed flavor to this dish, which we ate wrapped in corn tortillas.  


For our final entree, we chose the New York steak dusted with pumpkin seed, garlic and habanero pepper, topped with a Tequila-butter Cascabel pepper reduction, and served with roasted tomatillos, onions, chiles toreados, grilled queso fresco, and corn mashed potatoes.  


The Tequila-butter Cascabel pepper reduction on top of the steak was amazing, but our meat was very overcooked.  We ordered our steak medium, but it was definitely well done.  Nina, who loves super spicy food, tried the pepper on the dish, and was breathing fire, so Mitch and I did not sample it.  I told Chef Luis that I do not eat aioli, crema, sour cream, or anything else that tastes like mayonnaise, but there was definitely something on top of the corn mashed potatoes that had that taste, so I gave my portion to my husband.  Even with the issues we had with this dish, I would order the steak again, because of the delicious sauce on top.  


For dessert, I always order the Helado de Maiz, which is not marked gluten free on the menu, but is safe without the candied popcorn.  It is featured in my The Best Thing I Ever Ate at Disney - Gluten Free Desserts blog post.  Don't expect the corn ice cream to be super creamy, but it is a nice light dessert that I am able to enjoy after a big meal.  My favorite part is the Tajin sprinkled on top, which is a mix of chile peppers, lime and salt.  There was very little on my ice cream this time, so I asked for some more on the side.  


My daughters shared their favorite dessert, the Mousse de Chocolate, which is also gluten free.  It has a hint of cinnamon, and little chocolate pieces in it like the chocolate mousse at San Angel Inn.  


On previous visits, we have tried the Parrillada "La Hacienda" (mixed grill with New York strip, chicken al pastor, chorizos and vegetables) and the Costillas en salsa de Chile (braised short ribs), which are marked as gluten free options on their new menu.  You can read my previous reviews of La Hacienda de San Angel here.

The slow service we experienced Saturday, and the lack of gluten free tortilla chips will not prevent us from dining at La Hacienda de San Angel in the future, but I don't like to see restaurants taking a step back from their gluten free offerings.  I was most disappointed when their neighboring quick service restaurant La Cantina de San Angel changed their Empanadas con Queso from being made with corn to flour tortillas.  The empanadas used to be my favorite gluten free quick service dish at Epcot, but now we don't dine there anymore because their gluten free options are so limited.

La Hacienda de San Angel is not a Disney-owned and operated restaurant.  You can follow them and/or contact them on Facebook and Twitter.

You can read more about La Hacienda de San Angel, view their menu, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at La Hacienda de San Angel?


Monday, May 25, 2015

Whispering Canyon Cafe - Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Earlier today, my daughters and I had lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, my favorite resort at Walt Disney World.  We have never stayed there, but I think the resort is incredibly beautiful, and I love the theming.


In December, I had breakfast at Whispering Canyon, but we have not had dinner or lunch there in probably 5 years.  Before we moved to Orlando, we ate dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe every year when we took our annual trip to Disney World.  With my husband and grill master out of town, I thought Whispering Canyon would be a great place to enjoy some American favorites on Memorial Day.


Whispering Canyon Cafe does not have an allergy-friendly menu yet, but our server Chad told us that they should be available the first week of June.  Chef Philippe quickly came out to talk to me about gluten free options.  He told me that they had gluten free buns if I wanted to order one of the Trail Sandwiches, but I decided to go with the all-you-care-to-enjoy skillet, which has always been my favorite meal at Whispering Canyon.  


Chef Philippe told me that everything on the skillet is now gluten free, including the barbeque sauce.  The skillet includes slow-smoked pork ribs, barbecued pulled pork, roasted chicken, Western-style sausage, mashed Yukon potatoes, corn on the cob, and cowboy-style baked beans.  


I thought everything on my skillet was great.  I loved the flavor of their barbeque sauce, which was a little bit sweet, just how I like it.  It was already on the ribs, but I was given a side of it too, that I poured on my pulled pork.  The mashed potatoes were nice and creamy, and the baked beans were some of the best I have ever had.  The chicken was a little on the dry side, but still tasty, especially with the addition of some barbeque sauce.  The ribs and pulled pork were really good, and I even enjoyed the sausage, which is usually my least favorite meat.  For dinner, the all-you-care-to-enjoy skillet is also served with mixed greens tossed in an apple vinaigrette dressing, seasonal farm fresh vegetables, and oak-roasted beef strip loin.


My skillet came with gluten free cornbread, which tasted exactly like the delicious cornbread served at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.  It is oh so good slathered with lots of butter!  


For dessert, Chef Philippe told me they had gluten free cheesecake and chocolate cake.  Before digging into my lunch, I thought my daughters and I would share one of each dessert, but I was so full from attempting to eat my skillet, that we decided to split one order of the chocolate cake.  


Chef Philippe presented us with this beautiful dessert, which the pictures certainly don't do justice to.  On our plate were two mini round chocolate cakes with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and fresh berries.  


The chocolate cake was a little spongy, but delicious, so no one was complaining.  I love that it was served with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries, which complimented the cakes well.  Chef Philippe told me that they are working on a gluten & dairy free version of the chocolate cake, which should be ready soon.  


My gluten-eating daughters loved their slow-smoked pulled pork sandwich served on a brioche roll with cowboy-style baked beans, barbecue sauce, Western slaw and house-made potato chips.  They split this adult entree, which was plenty of food for the both of them.  The only negative part of our dining experience today was that we had advance dining reservations for 11:45 when Whispering Canyon opens for lunch, but they did not start seating anyone until 12:00.


You can read more about Whispering Canyon Cafe, view their menus, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Whispering Canyon?



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rose & Crown Allergy-Friendly Menu - Epcot

Yesterday, we stopped at the Rose & Crown Pub in Epcot to check out their new allergy-friendly menu.



In April, Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts started rolling out new allergy-friendly menus, which should be available in all Disney-owned and operated table-service and quick-service restaurants by September.  All of the new menus state that you may still speak to a chef before placing your order.



Every single option on Rose & Crown's adult and kids' allergy-friendly menus are marked as an option for guests with gluten/wheat allergies.   On Disney's website, the dinner menu appears to be a little different than the lunch menu, but the following dishes should be available for adults for both lunch and dinner, with the exception of the Chicken Masala, which might only be available for dinner.

Appetizers

  • United Kingdom Cheese Platter with Stilton, Irish Cheddar, and Cotswold Cheese
  • Crock of potato leek soup
  • Apple and frisee salad with cranberry vinaigrette
Entrees
  • Fish and Chips - baked cod with lemon
  • Grilled New York Strip Steak with seasonal vegetables and chips
  • Vegetable Cottage Pie with seasonal vegetables, mashed potatoes, and cheddar
  • Indian-style Chicken Masala with seasonal vegetables and brown rice 
Desserts
  • Fruit salad
  • English Trifle with fresh strawberries, vanilla custard, and whipped cream


Kids' Meals (for guests ages 9 and under)

Appetizer
  • House salad with oil and vinegar
Mickey Check Meals - served with choice of small lowfat milk or small Dasani water, and fruit salad for dessert
  • Grilled chicken with brown rice and green beans
  • Baked fish with brown rice and green beans
Choose 1 Beverage, 1 Entree, and 1 Dessert
  • Beverages - small lowfat milk, small Dasani water, or small Minute Maid Apple Juice
  • Entree - grilled sirloin with chips
  • Desserts - fruit salad or English Trifle with fresh strawberries, vanilla custard and whipped cream


When we ate at Rose & Crown last year on Mother's Day, the chefs made me a delicious Shepherd's Pie, which you can read about here.  At several Disney restaurants, I have been told by our servers and chefs that they can make gluten free dishes other than those listed on their allergy-friendly menus.

You can read more about Rose & Crown, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Rose & Crown?



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Narcoossee's - Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

Last night, my daughters and I had dinner at Narcoossee's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort to celebrate their last day of school.